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The Church of Jesus Christ began at Pentecost when the power of the Holy Spirit fell.
The Day of Pentecost — Birth of the church —
Acts 2: 2-4 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they ]rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
Pentecost–The day the Holy Spirit came in the temple and the church of Jesus Christ, the bride of Christ began a new ministry on earth. It was a new way of communicating with the Holy God of Israel. There would be no need for sacrificing time after time. Jesus paid the ransom for the sin debt. Jesus opened the way for a relationship not through rituals.
The book of Hebrews lays out for us how the new covenant was replacing the old covenant of rituals and sacrifices. (Hebrews 7:7) “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” Read chapters 7-10 for further explanation of how the first covenant of Law was insufficient. The old was “only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things.” (Hebrews 10:1)
Under the old covenant of Law given by Moses there were 7 feasts for Israel. Three of them required them to call a solemn assembly. Once the temple was built in Jerusalem, they were required to go to Jerusalem for each of these three. The feast of Tabernacles, Passover, which has just occurred and the Feast of Weeks. The feast of weeks, Shavuot, until the Law was fifty days from Passover. Shavuot meaning (weeks).
Pentecost and Shavuot were both feast of the first fruits. Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. Remember Hebrews told us what is in the old covenant is only a shadow. Shavuot was a picture of the coming of Messiah and the joining of all people under the new and better covenant. It was hidden in the picture of first fruits.
Shavuot was established by God in Leviticus 23. It was to be at the time of harvest in early summer that these festivals were to be held. The people were to bring the first of the harvest to the temple. The tradition of the waving of two loaves of bread, baked with leaven, waved as a sacrifice to the Lord for His provision of the harvest.
Leviticus 23:15-17 “You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. 17 You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.
Nothing in the Old Testament is without meaning. The Torah or the Law was the beginning of Judaism. Shavuot is the festival celebrating the giving of the Law which was the beginning of the Jewish worship..
Now the new covenant has been revealed. Pentecost means fifty and reflects the old shadow and now reality of new covenant is here. It is exactly 50 days after resurrection.
Do you think God uses His own calendar to reveal His plans?
The Holy Spirit came on the day Pentecost and the beginning of the first evangelism program began.
Acts 2: 1,2,5 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place… And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. . And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
How are they connected? What is the symbolism?
- The waving of the two loaves with leaven. Leaven is symbolic of sin. The passover bread that was baked without leaven. The bread had no leaven because it was symbolic of the sinless Christ. Two loaves looked to the future prophesy of a time when Messiah would come. Pentecost was the fulfillment of that prophecy when the Messiah came and both Jew and Gentile were provided a way of salvation.
- The reading of the book of Ruth became a tradition for Shavuot. Ruth was a story of grace, love and friendship. Ruth was a Gentile who came to know and to love the God of Naomi, a Jewess through their kinsmen Redeemer, Boaz. In the story was the prophecy of a time when the Kinsmen Redeemer would come to redeem man from his sinful state. Hidden in the old, Shavuot, a shadow becomes a reality in Jesus, the Kinsman Redeemer.
- Another tradition the Jews had for Shavuot was the eating dairy. For them milk or cheese was a symbol of the nourishment. Nourishment was received when studying the Torah. For us as Christians that nourishment is obtained through the study of the Word of God and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which was given at Pentecost. (John 14:26) “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (for a further study of what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives read John 15:26, John 16:1-15)
When Pentecost came, there were 3000 people who were saved that day. When Moses came down from the mountain, 3000 people died because of their rebellion and worship of the golden calf. Under the law, we were dead in our sin; now we are made alive in Jesus Christ. Pentecost was a great season of revival. It was the beginning of the biggest move of Evangelism. From those 3000 people, the world was turned upside down.
ACTS 2:41 “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 :And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
This Sunday marks the 7th week since Resurrection Sunday.
Few people will know the hidden treasure found in the meaning of this celebration. We should still have a sense of awe with many wonders and signs taking place.
We are so set on how we think worship should be that we often miss the mystery of God working in our midst. God is still an awesome God!
Do we have all things in common? Are we sharing with those in need? Are we day by day continuing with one mind in the house of the Lord? Do we serve one another with gladness and sincerity of heart? Are we praising God and having favor with all the people?
The secret was in verse 42. “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Should we wonder why the Lord is not adding to the number day by day of those who are needing salvation?
Pray that we will return to a time of revival. Pray that we would be of one mind and of one accord. Pray we will stir one another to love and good works. Pray that Satan’s hindrances would be stopped in the name of Jesus. Pray that we would not quench the work God may want to do in His church. God is always at work! We need to find where He is working and join Him.
Send the Fire by Lindell Cooley
Treading…watching for the later rain revival